Friday, July 27, 2012

July 27 - This day in Petty history

1969 - Starting third, Richard Petty leads 127 of 200 laps and wins the Smoky 200 at Smoky Mountain Raceway in Maryville, TN.

Racing his Petty blue Ford Torino, Petty won by one car length over career rival and race pole-sitter, David Pearson. The King's win on the East Tennessee, half-mile, paved oval was his 99th career Grand National victory - one shy of a 100-win signature plateau.

Fellow Petty fan and middle Tennessee resident, FallsCity48, remembers:
Every year my parents would take vacations around the time of the late summer Bristol, Maryville and Nashville races. The family could all get away and see 3 races plus spend some time in the Smokies. I always called it the Tennessee tour: Bristol on Sunday, Maryville on Thursday and of course Nashville on Saturday night.

In 1969, we were in Maryville for their race on Thursday night. Just before the race started, a huge thunderstorm came out of nowhere and rained the race out. It was rescheduled for a Sunday day race. So we decided that we would travel back to Maryville on Sunday to see the race after Nashville's Saturday night race.
The '69 Nashville 400 was a great race with a great duel with Bobby Isaac for the win. As you know, Richard won.

Next morning we all got up early and traveled back to Maryville. We beat most of the teams back to the track as well. I was able to to wander thru the pit gate just as the Petty team pulled up with the car on the trailer, and I watched them unload the car. Oddly the only thing they did to the car for preparation for the race was Dale Inman changed the oil in the engine plus a slight chassis adjustment and new tires.

To make a long story short, Richard won at Maryville as well with the race ending around 3-4:00. With the Nashville race ending around 11:00 on Saturday night and Maryville ending Sunday afternoon, Richard won 2 Grand National races in less than 24 hours!! I have NOT checked all the records, but this may be a feat that has never been duplicated.
FallsCity48 also provided a couple of photos from Maryville - from a clear-sky Thursday before the rains arrived to postpone the race until Sunday.

Article courtesy of Jerry Bushmire
TMC

1 comment:

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